House Passes Bill About Arming School Staff

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa House has approved a bill designed to give liability protection to schools that choose to let teachers or other staff volunteer to undergo training and carry a weapon to respond to a shooting.

Representative Phil Thompson, a Republican from Boone, says the bill requires not just active shooter drills and medical training and learning how to communicate with law enforcement during a shooting, but a yearly background check for the professional permit to carry a gun on school grounds.

Republican Representative John Wills is from Spirit Lake, where trained school staff briefly carried concealed weapons, but quit after the district’s insurance carrier threatened to drop coverage. Wills says Spirit Lake, Cherokee, and other districts are hoping the bill becomes law soon.

House Republican Leader Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley says seconds count when there’s a shooting.

Windshitl says he’s heard from companies that insure schools in states that have similar laws that they’ll offer policies to Iowa districts that let staff be armed on school grounds and at school activities. Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames, says the bill will reduce the liability risk for insurers, but would allow a frightening number of guns in Iowa schools.

Representative Sami Scheetz, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says the bill isn’t the answer to gun violence.

Representative Lindsay James, a Democrat from Dubuque, says Iowans want common sense gun safety laws.

A few other education-related bills passed the House last night solely with Republican support. One would create a new set of standards for social studies and civics classes, requiring instruction about specific people, events, and documents. Another would require that all schools to teach about fetal development starting in seventh grade and include an animated video called “Meet Baby Olivia” that was developed by a group that opposes abortion.



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